Noram Champs '18
Coming into this weekend, I was interested to see how NORAM would play out. I had been to USOCR last year in Texas, and OCRWC in Canada. I thought USOCR was fun, but was still lacking compared to OCRWC in terms of location, venue, obstacles, and vibe. But then again, it was Labor Day weekend, and a few days after the Houston floods, so it didn't have those going for it right off the bat.
I was pretty much expecting NORAM to be somewhere in the middle. Between last year's USOCR, and OCRWC, and I'm happy to say I think it was as close to OCRWC as it could have been. I don't think the turnout numbers and competition were as strong, but when it came to venue, location, obstacles, and overall vibe, NORAM Champs satisfied!
I came into this weekend with literally no plan of attack, and I loved it. There's something freeing to me about these races. A lot of times with Spartan Races, I get way too bent out of shape about what placement I'm coming in, and forget that the reason I'm participating in these events is because they're fun. It feels good to go into a race looking forward to just being challenged by the mountain, and getting to test yourselves on some ridiculously fun obstacles that you've never seen before!
The 3k was a blast. The perfect distance between not quite being able to go all out right from the beginning, but also making obstacle speed actually matter. I had a great battle going on with a fellow racer back and forth the whole time. I placed 9/71 in my 20-29 age group, and 26/358 for all men's age group, with a time of 26:19, and didn't have to attempt any of the obstacles more than once.
The 15k... was comical.
I don't know why, but I went into the 15k just as nonchalantly as I did the 3k. Normally when I know a race is going to take me over 90 minutes, I will bring Clif Bloks, and a salt pill or two. For whatever reason, I went into this one without a care (or a calorie) in the world. For whatever reason, I thought that there was one huge climb in the beginning, and then once we made it back to the Wreck Bag Carry, it went straight into the 3k course I ran the day prior and then that was it. For whatever reason, I was sorely mistaken 😂
The first climb took forever. It started raining by the time Korey and I made it to the top. We battled each other on some rigs (and by battled, I mean he went faster and I just caught up to him after each one), and then bombed down some giant hills immediately after. We were bombing them way too hard for the amount of race that was still yet to come...
I think about 90 minutes into the race is when I realized shit was going to get real. There were some serious climbs that came after I thought we'd just go right into the 3k course. I barely got Stairway to Heaven. 2 hours in I was getting hungry, and slowing down. I was still managing obstacles, but not cruising through them by any means.
I got to Urban Sky, and failed the third leg on my first attempt. I went right back into another attempt. Did the first two legs, then rested before attempting the third leg again. I went for it, missed on the last hold, and my hamstring cramped. I don't think I had the thought that I might not be able to get through this, but I definitely was worried about how long I could keep giving attempts without any nutrition on me. On my third attempt, I took that third leg a lot slower, did a lot more shimmying, and managed to pull it off.
Here's where my race gets comical. The obstacle that took me out... Car Jacked. 😂😭 For those that don't know - it's basically a taxi and cop car that are parked facing each other, and you just have to jump onto and over the hood of one of them.
I was so excited to be finishing (it's about 100 feet to the finish line, with just the slip wall to go). I took a big jump, and my calve immediately cramped up.
Then I tried stretching them, and all of a sudden both calves just went full flex charlie horse, which has NEVER happened to me before. I dropped to the ground, 50 feet from the slip wall, and basically sat there for 5 minutes as ~8 athletes from my age group passed me. I finally managed to stand. Luckily I'm tall enough that I could grab the rope for the slip wall without having to jump, and slowly hobbled my way over the finish line.
Although that wasn't the ending I expected, it definitely didn't hinder my feelings towards the race overall, it was just a stupid mistake on my part not bringing any nutrition with me out on course. I had a ton of fun challenging myself on obstacles (and that mountain!), and it was great catching up with my fellow OCR BEAST athletes.
Did you go to NORAM? Are you going to OCRWC? I'd love to hear about your experience, or answer any questions you may have. Feel free to reach out on Instagram @spencermahoney, or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org!